Monday, May 29, 2017

5-28-17 That's like gold for missionaries

Hello po Family!

 Man, this computer won't recognize my camera so I won't be able to send pictures again. Sorry! A member sent a picture though so I'll just forward that to you guys. My camera's also messed up now and won't work. It just won't turn at all anymore no matter how long I let it rest or charge it. The "on" light will turn on then off and that's it. 

 Elder Marquez and I had a great week! We're on a new planner though so I'll have to share our experiences based on memory today. We're finding so many new people! Elder Marquez is just ridiculous when it comes to work and seems to never get tired of it. Because of him it's so easy for me to keep going hard and being excited about the work. We worked in a couple spots we've never been to before and found people with pretty high potential. For the sake of time though I'll just talk about our most progressing investigator right now, sister Jackie. She was a referral from a couple fellowshippers who work with us at least 2x a week. She's pretty busy so we didn't get to teach her until Saturday 2weeks ago. This is what's awesome about her though: she has entered many churches already and has so many unanswered questions.That's like gold for missionaries. She got comfortable with us really easily thanks to the fellowshippers and asked us many questions that we were able to help her with. This past Saturday we taught her for the second time and this was one of my favorite lessons of all time. I've had only a handful of lessons where I felt the spirit just take over and guide the topic to what the person needed to hear or learn, and this was one of those times. Everything flowed so well and Jackie confessed that she gets a different feeling when she listens to us. She asked a great question: How can I feel the Spirit of God at all times? We took that as the opportunity to teach about the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how it's preceded by Baptism by someone with authority. She accepted the invitation to be baptized on July 1. Please pray for her! She mentioned being a little afraid because if she follows through with this she'll be the only member in her family and is worried how they'd take it. Luckily one fellowshipper has the same problem so shared how he's been able to deal with it and why he continues to be strong in the church.  What made this experience better, was that she made it to church yesterday! She had to leave early for work but we were so stoked to see her and she said she'll go back next week. She was the only investigator in church yesterday.

 We have this other great, great investigator, sister Sofia. She's been wanting to go to church lately, things just keep coming up. Last week she had to help out with a funeral. She said that yesterday she was super set on going to church and even invited her niece to go with her, but in the morning she woke up to 2 boils on her leg. Because of that she wasn't able to walk well and I think boils bring headaches as well. Her niece got changed and everything! Just couldn't go because of Sofia's boils. Satan is working very hard to keep people from keeping commitments. But Sister Sofia promised that she's going this Sunday with her niece, Jezabelle :) 

 Alright that's pretty much all I can remember right now! I want to thank Anjo though for that great Eagle Scout project you did. That one must have been inspired. Thank you. As for mom, thank you for getting everything set up! Not gonna lie though I'm pretty nervous now haha. Tell Hamblin I love him and will see him soon! Also, Kala'i, you're voice is ridiculous. That song you wrote for Makana was beautiful and I'm stoked to get home and just hear you sing when we jam again. Oh and tell Makana I love him and said congratulations!! I meant to say that in my last email...sorry. 

 Love you guys! 
Elder Ishibashi


Monday, May 22, 2017

5-21-17 "ah, just charge um".

Magandang hapon po Family! Maligayang Kaarawan Herbert!

 I'm super grateful to be able to report to you guys every week because I haven't written in my journal in almost a month... At least I'll have something in the future to remind me of the great things that happened on my mission. I'm excited to tell you guys about the past two weeks! 

 The biggest highlight from 2 weeks ago was my splits with Elder Searancke, my Zone Leader from New Zealand. He said he ran into an Elder Meyers from Hawai`i once! I happily told him that he's been one of my best friends since childhood days. Our splits was super fun and I learned so many things from Elder Searancke. The first thing that stood out came while we were on our way to their area. We took a jeepney there and on the way a man and his little daughter, probably like 6, got on. I saw the way that Elder looked at the girl. It was as if he knew her for a long time, and was just so happy to see that she was happy. Before him I've never seen someone show such love for someone they don't even know. Since then I've been trying to truly see people the way that Heavenly Father sees them, seeing them not for what they are now, but for what they could become through the gospel and Atonement of Jesus Christ. Another thing that stood out to me was how crazy humble he is. I won't share everything for his sake, but I learned a lot from his example. Pride is a real thing. It was cool to see someone who has so much to brag about, but doesn't. Needless to say it was a great day of learning and the Spirit was felt all day. I also learned to listen more and not think so much about what to say.

 Last week we had splits with the Mabini elders. I worked in Mabini with Elder Idorot while his companion worked in Gamu with Elder Marquez. I had a great day with Elder Idorot as well and got to know him better. He knows exactly why he's here in the field and has a strong desire to be obedient and do his best. I was super proud of Elder Marquez when he told me about his experience with the splits. He stood his ground when his companion suggested that they do something not allowed. I know I can trust Elder Marquez with this area and his new companion once I go. This week we enter our last transfer, which means that by Thursday we'll officially be the oldest missionaries in the mission! Crazy.

 One highlight is we got philly cheese steak sandwiches yesterday. So good holy smokes. We actually have one American in our Branch who was a professional cook once. He feeds the missionaries every zone conference. I miss sandwiches so big that your mouth seems small. 

As for our investigators, none came to church yesterday. It's a little hard because we have so many who are so willing to listen and say that they want to be with their families forever and receive salvation, but almost none act upon our commitments. We still have high hopes for many of them though. This morning we visited this small group of girls for our third lesson. Last time we taught about praying, especially as families, since they wanted to know more about how they can help their families. There are 4 of them and 3 have parents who are either split up or in jeopardy of separating. Two was happy to report that they've been praying together since that lesson! Not yet as a whole family, but working on it. They even said they're willing to change and do whatever it takes to follow Christ once they know for themselves that this message is true. 
 Elder Marquez and I had a pretty cool experience last night as well. Our curfew on Sunday nights is 7. We spent a really long time with a less-active family yesterday just trying to build a relationship with them since this was our first time meeting them and the first impression is so important. We tried to find out why they stopped going to church and spent a lot of time talking with George, one of the sons, about the gospel and how he as a Priesthood holder is needed at church. Once we left it was almost 7 already so we we decided to just visit an investigator family and set a schedule with them before returning home. On our way Elder Marquez remembered that they wouldn't be home around that time. Right there we noticed a dirt road to our right and decided to just contact one or 2 houses before heading home. I had a strong feeling though, and I told Elder, that the first house we hit will let us in. After some walking we found the first house to be huge and super intimidating haha. We almost walked past (typically people in big houses like that won't even talk to us), but I figured, "If not now, probably never" or like I used to say, "ah, just charge um". We walked down their small hill and tao po'd. Some people saw us and hid and the dog was going wild. We got a little discouraged and almost turned around after a minute or 2, when finally the mother came out and invited us into their terrace. We got to talk with her for a bit and it turns out she loves Mormons and sees how the church has blessed the lives of some of her family members! We set an appointment with her this coming Wednesday. She's interested to know what makes us different and how it made her uncle so happy. We're praying hard for her and are excited to see her again. 

 Alright that's it though. I love you guys! It was super good to see you guys. Thanks for the pictures and videos U'i! Ingat po kayo lagi :)

Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi


Monday, May 15, 2017

5-7-17 Kumusta po na naman family!

*This email was written last week but Elder Ishibashi mistakenly sent it only to his brother in the Philipines.  In our skype session tonight we told him that we got no email and he was able to resend.  

Kumusta po na naman family!

 These weeks are just flying by like crazy di ba? Today I hit 22 months since entering the MTC...nuts. We had another super great week though! 

 Last week was pretty much just ridiculous great all week haha. Saturday was slightly hard, but it got better again yesterday (so much better!). We found many people and almost all of them accepted the invitation to be baptized in the first lesson! I gotta tell you guys about James though. This is one of the coolest things that's happened so far in my mission. After District Meeting on Tuesday we visited the home of a less-active family with the intent to share a message with them. They weren't home but this brother who's just renting a part of their home came out. He seemed a little annoyed at first since all of their dogs were barking and we kept "tao po"-ing which is like the "anybody home?" here. We just decided to introduce ourselves and I was gonna say we'll return on another day when the family is home. What's interesting is he told us his name and I remembered an investigator we had with the same last name in my first area, Lamut. This investigator never really progressed but I never forgot him for some reason. I asked if he knows him and he said they're first cousins! I think it was at that point we got a little more comfortable with each other. Out of nowhere it began to rain. This is the only time it rained hard all week last week. Just before it got hard he told us to just come undercover for a while and wait for the rain to settle down. We talked with him a little more about our purpose and asked if we could teach him about the restoration. The rain was really rough so we were kind of yelling the whole lesson (haha), but the spirit was so strong. We taught the first lesson super simply, putting emphasis on Christ's perfect church being lost then restored in its fullness through the prophet Joseph Smith. Throughout the lesson we asked if he had any questions and his responses kept surprising us. He went from, "Nope, I just want to try attending your church so I can hear more" to "no, I just really want to keep learning more about what you guys have to say". That never happens. We invited him to be baptized and he thought about it for a bit since he's been baptized before, but accepted it after we taught a little more about the Priesthood. He was very interested in learning more about the Book of Mormon. At this point we were on our very last copy, but told him that if he promises to actually read we'll be more than happy to give it to him. He was like, "I'll read the whole thing". We acted on faith and was given 2 more copies by our zone leaders the next day. We had many investigators promise this past week that they'll go to church on Sunday (yesterday) but only one actually came. Brother James. It was testimony Sunday which was perfect, the classes were great and something that kept coming up throughout the 3 hours was the truth of the Book of Mormon. We asked throughout the day if he had any questions and he was just like, "No, I'll just keep listening and reading and ask later." He returned home in the mountain province after church but will back at the family's house on Wednesday so Elder Marquez them will visit him then (we'll have splits with the zone leaders). Sorry for the long story, but this guy is one of those investigators that just makes everything worth it. 

 Nanay Cauilan is doing super great as well. I think she couldn't make it to church yesterday because one of her daughters, Karen, will give birth any day now so she's watching over her. Her RM daughter, Kat, bore testimony yesterday though and said that while she was getting ready for church nanay Cauilan out of nowhere said, "I don't know why, but I really want to get baptized!" Kat said she also heard her mom and Karen that morning reading the assignment we left with them about the Book of Mormon. 

 As for Mitzi, we're not super sure about her. Her cousin dropped us which was heartbreaking. I feel like they may be pushing Mitzi to stay with them and not listen to us anymore. We're praying that she'll find the strength to do the right thing even though it may be hard and uncomfortable. I like President Monson's saying "May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong."

 We'll try to find out this week why the others who promised to go to church weren't able to do so and how we can help them do that. Elder Marquez is still super awesome and fun to be with. I learn so much from him and am humbled because he continues to sustain me as the senior companion and listens to me even though he's already better than me at everything haha. He applies the things I say immediately and just keeps seeking ways to improve in every way possible. There's no doubt in my mind that he'll witness miracles throughout his mission. I'm stoked that he'll be here to meet the soon-to-be Elder Koyamaibole! Congratulations to him! He's gonna love this mission so much.

 Thank you guys for the emails and pictures! Glad to know everyone's safe and healthy. As for the Mother's Day call, I guess I'll call around 12 here which will be like 6 there. Is that okay? We'll be using our neighbor's computers along with the zone leaders so hopefully everything will work out. I'm excited to see you guys though! I forgot my cord this week so still can't send pictures...sorry. I'll just forward one that a member sent for today. Have a great week!

 Mahal ko po kayo. Kita-kita po tayo sa Mother's Day!
Elder Ishibashi


Monday, May 1, 2017

4-30-17 Being humble means pleasing God

Magandang hapon po Family!

 Before I talk about our week I want to thank the Primary girls for their wonderful letters! A sister sent me some of them through email last week and I forgot to mention that. Thank you! Every little bit of support helps and keeps me going :) also nice haircut pretty girl! Herb's awesome. And happy birthday to Jeremias! :) 

 This computer also won't allow me to send pictures...sorry. We had a great week though! Elder Marquez continues to be such a great missionary and anak. He's super funny and kind of just keeps everyone alive and positive at home. He's a great teacher and is constantly asking how he can improve. It's funny, I kind of expected that the Lord would give me a hard companion to really test me in my last 2 cycles, but Elder Marquez so far has only been great. He's actually one of my favorite companions already. 

 On Tuesday we had a great Zone Conference in Ilagan. There were 2 main topics we discussed during the conference: Pride, and the Book of Mormon. We watched a General Conference talk called "Beware of Pride", written by Ezra Taft Benson but read by President Hinckley. It was such an inspiring message and something I needed to hear. I realized I still have so much pride and that I need to stop comparing myself with others so much. One of the bigger things that stood out to me was that being humble means pleasing God, and not man. I'm grateful that through this talk I can now be more aware of my pride and repent quickly and effectively.  I also loved talking about the Book of Mormon. Since I've been out here I have developed such a love for the Book of Mormon. It's so interesting! And there are so many lessons we can learn and apply to ourselves from each verse if we seek deep enough. The Zone Conference overall was a success and we applied many things we learned into our teaching immediately. 

 We're finding some golden people! On Saturday we met nanay Cauilan, whose daughter actually just came home from her mission a couple weeks ago. Apparently nanay was taught by missionaries in the past but never went to church yet. We taught her about prophets since that's one thing she remembered being taught but forgot why they're important. By the end she realized how important they are and we kind of guided that to the baptism invitation. She said that she was willing to follow the prophet, no matter how rough or uncomfortable it'd be, because she knows that by doing so she'd be following the Lord Himself. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted! And we were even more happy to see her in church yesterday with her daughter! Her daughter was also one of the sacrament speakers which was perfect. After church we worked around her house again and met another nanay. While speaking with this nanay, we noticed nanay Caulian coming through to go somewhere. Before continuing on she stopped by us and told this nanay that she should take lessons from us and they could go to church together next Sunday! We didn't even invite nanay Cauilan to return yet but she has it set that she will. How awesome is that!

 We met another golden person this morning. We visited a family for the second time who seem to be pretty interested and willing to act upon commitments. Brother, Julius, couldn't make it to church yesterday because of his leg, affected by diabetes. His daughter, Jalen, attended a funeral the night before and slept in yesterday morning. They'll try to go this week though and they also have accepted the invitation to be baptized on June 17! While teaching them one of their cousins, Mitzi, just walked over and sat down. She listened very intently and asked when we'd come back to teach. She said she wants to keep listening to us! When we gave the invitation to be baptized she gave the most certain "Yes" out of the three of them, almost as if she's been waiting for it. It was almost like that time in Roxas with Princess if you guys remember. She said she'll prepare herself to be baptized and will do all the things we invite her to do to know for herself that these things are true. It was such a cool thing! What's even more great is that their uncle is President Daggao, our Branch President. I'll keep you guys up to date with them.

 Everything is just going so well and Elder Marquez & I are growing and learning so much. Today was already great and I have a feeling the rest of this week will be very fruitful as well. Thank you guys for your continued support and prayers. Sorry again for not being able to send pictures, hopefully next week! 

 Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi